AFTER a year marked by grounded planes, closed borders, and mandatory quarantines, looking for destinations close to home is probably the safest option until spring.

Luckily, for those living in Andalucia, six more towns have been added to the region’s list of touristic municipalities.

The Junta’s Governing Council approved the declaration of the towns of Bubion (Granada), Baños de la Encina (Jaen), Estepona (Malaga), Grazalema and Barbate (Cadiz) and Lepe (Huelva) as Tourist Municipalities of Andalucia, all of which will be eligible for aid to boost tourism.

Among the measures to promote and boost the economic recovery post COVID-19 crisis, the Regional Ministry of Tourism has awarded this distinction as part of the recovery strategy to encourage tourism in these towns.

The six localities recently included in the list of Andalucian Tourist Municipalities have widely accredited cultural heritage as well as municipal plans offering quality tourism.

All localities have been able to accredit a number of daily overnight stays in tourist accommodation establishments in excess of 10% of the municipality’s residents over at least three months of the year.

Additionally, the towns all have specific services for tourism including accessibility plans, investments in tourism and regulated tourist accommodation.

The Olive Press takes a look at what each town has to offer:

Bubion (Granada)

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Bubion (Granada): Declared a Historic-Artistic Site.

This is a municipality of 296 inhabitants declared a Historic-Artistic Site.

Places of interest: The Casa Alpujareña Museum, the Artesa de los Moros and the San Antonio Chapel.

It has famous festivals and traditions such as the Mauraca, the chestnut festival, or the Chisco de San Anton.

Regulated tourist accommodation: 570.

Baños de la Encina (Jaen)

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Baños de la Encina Castle.

This town has 2,585 inhabitants and was declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1969.

Places of interest: The Castle, the Plaza Mayor and the Church of San Mateo.

Natural resources of interest: The Sierra de Andujar Natural Park, the Rumblar reservoir, the Tamujoso beach and the Starlight Astronomical Observation Point.

Regulated tourist accommodation: 197.

Estepona (Malaga)

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Estepona, a town rich in historical heritage.

It has a rich historical heritage and resources declared to be of cultural interest, such as the Roman Villa de las Torres, the remains of the San Luis Castle, the Clock Tower, Castillejos, the El Nicio Castle, the Lobilla Cemetery and the seven Almenara Towers.

Natural resources of interest: The Natural Park of Sierra Bermeja, 23 kilometres of coastline. It also has a botanical and orchid park, which contains more than 5,000 plants and more than 1,500 species of orchids from all over the world.

The municipality also has a marina, seven golf courses.

Regulated tourist accommodation: 27,200.

Grazalema (Cadiz)

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Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de la Aurora in Grazalema.

Declared a Historic-Artistic Site, this town has 2,193 inhabitants and 36 heritage tourist attractions declared to be of cultural interest.

Natural resources of interest: The Natural Parks of La Sierra de Grazalema and La Sierra de las Nieves (both UNESCO biosphere reserves), and the Genal and Guadiaro Valleys.

Regulated tourist accommodation: 1,734.

Barbate (Cadiz)

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Tombolo de Trafalgar in Barbate, Cadiz.

This municipality of 22,518 inhabitants has many tourist resources.

Places of interest: The castle of Zahara de los Atunes, declared an Asset of Cultural Interest, and the Hermitage of San Ambrosio.

Natural resources of interest: La Breña Natural Park and Barbate Marshes, the Tombolo de Trafalgar Natural Monument and several beaches, two of which have the Q for Tourism Quality distinction.

Regulated tourist accommodation: 11,673.

Lepe (Huelva)

This municipality, with 27 431 inhabitants is the largest newly included town in Andalucia list of Touristic Municipalities.

Places of interest: The Church of Santo Domingo de Guzman, the Catalan Tower or la Almadraba de Nueva Umbría.

Natural resources of interest: The Marismas del Rio Piedras y Flecha Natural Park in Nueva Umbria as well as various beaches, two of which have the Q for Tourism Quality.

Regulated tourist accommodation: 5,287.

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